I was born in Washington, D.C. From there my life likely mirrored that of a lot of my readers. We moved around. I got some education. Played some sports, and got some more education. Prior to becoming a novelist, I worked as a financial analyst determining the value of companies. But let’s talk about my current and final career, writing mystery novels.
As a writer, I conjure up occurrences designed to quickly bring the story to a roiling boil. Along the way, I invent people. Victims and villains and heroes are needed, as well as a supporting cast. I make these people fun and interesting so you will welcome them and introduce them to your friends. Primary characters need habits and tics and talents, the qualities that bring them to life and make you love them or hate them. You’ll want to see them humiliated or hunted down, be sucessful or seduced.
My mysteries offer you the opportunity to be challenged to find the villain from among the suspects. Clues as large as a log or as tiny as a bump thereon are salted throughout the stories. There are distractions in the form of false clues, called red herrings, which point to someone other than the real villain.
Take a journey with me. Laugh. Hold your breath. Cheer. Boo. The characters are rich and the plots are grabbers. I promise that you’ll be glad you came along. Some people don’t like golf or chocolate or even a hearty laugh. But I’ll bet you like some of those things and I’ll bet you’ll like my mysteries. Yours very truly, David Bishop
Bio provided by author’s site
It was our pleasure to get the opportunity to interview David and learn more about him and how he came to be an author. David has quite a few books published that are doing really well in the charts! So get comfortable and give a warm welcome to David!
What makes a good hook in your stories?
Hitting the ground running, i.e., immediately giving readers at least one main character with whom they can relate and about whom they care what happens. As a mystery writer, I create interesting people, and place them in jeopardy. “If readers begin to think, I don’t care what happens to these people,” my book becomes a wall banger and they pick up a different novel. I know this and so I write to give the story traction on the first page. I actually change the terminology a bit and think of “hooks and come alongs.” The come along says, come along while I tell you this story. The hook drags the reader from one scene into the next. I try to start scenes with come alongs and end them with hooks. That’s not typical terminology for writers, but it’s mine.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I can’t sing or dance, yet I want to be an entertainer, so I write. My inspiration comes through the opportunity to provide a few minutes of escape for my readers while they sit on an airplane, lounge in their backyard, or when they aren’t quite ready to go to sleep.
Are you an organized writer? Do you do things like take notes and make lists of characters? Or do you free write and work it out as you go?
It seems that every writer I talk to does it a little differently. Some organize to the point of using an outline, others do not. I’m in the “do not” camp. In most instances I start out this way: I decide the crime, pick a hero and a villain and fire the gun to start the race. First, I write a major biography of the main characters so I know who they are, and, by extension, how they can be expected to react and behave. The bio sometimes gets changed because the story develops in a way that makes me need to change a talent or tic of that character. The first writing I do is the last scene. After that I return to page one and start the story. My theory is we don’t load up the car, put the kids in the backseat and pull away from the curb to go on vacation without knowing where we are going. A novel is like that. I have to know where the story is going, where the hero, villain, plot, and solution will come together. Then I can go back and pull away from the curb knowing that all my turns and twists are designed to get me to my destination. Once I know where I will end up, I just let the major characters behave as they would, based on their respective bios, and I write what they do and say.
What is your normal writing day like? Do you write when you are inspired or do you have a schedule?
I write whenever I have the time. It makes no different what time or day of the week. I read the last page I wrote and continue writing. I have never experienced writer’s block. I don’t understand it. With modern word processors I can easily change or delete, so what’s to be blocked? Write the story. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Write the story. Perfect comes, or at least its pursuit comes in something like the tenth (or whatever) rewrite.
Who is your favorite author and how did they inspire you to write?
There are so many tremendous mystery/thriller writers whose work I admire. But the writer who most inspired me was Louis L’Amour, the greatest and most prolific western writer in history. I don’t write westerns, but nonetheless he was my inspiration. A story to explain: I saw Louis L’Amour in a restaurant in Durango, Colorado. He was lunching alone. I went to him and said, “I apologize for interrupting your lunch, but I want to thank you for many hours of enjoyable reading.” He replied, “How nice of you young man. If you’re alone and having lunch, please join me.” I did. We talked for over an hour, and through that I learned that he wrote on a portable typewriter which he took everywhere. If his wife had a doctor’s appointment, he would be in the lobby knocking out a few pages. He said he could write anytime, anywhere and he did. He also said things which I would summarize as, don’t sweat the small stuff. Write. Fix it up later. I’ve followed that counsel ever since.
It’s easy to see that you have a passion for writing but is there any part of it you don’t like?
No. Oh, maybe the business side of being an author as it takes me away from my first love, writing stories. Yet, the business part is necessary and I don’t really mind doing it.
Do you make time to read and if you do what are you reading right now?
An author must take/make time to read for pleasure, but also to learn how others craft their stories. At the moment, I am reading a wonderful mystery titled Rejection, a Lou Drake Mystery, by Thomas K. Matthews. Lou Drake is an interesting detective and the plot so far has my undivided attention.
How did you get started in writing in the mystery/thriller/suspense genre?
I always loved reading in this genre, and always wanted to write in it. Like many of you, life sometimes gets in the way of bringing out the things that live in our ambitions. I wrote a highly technical, financial nonfiction book in 2002 which was published in English, Russian, and Chinese. After it came out, I decided I was going to pursue what I really wanted to write, fiction. I wrote fiction for ten years, studying and practicing the craft, before aggressively pursuing being published. I wanted to be ready and I am. My characters are interesting, the plots grabbers. I invite you to come along and cheer, boo, cry, and laugh with the nice and nasty folks who inhabit my stories. I have five novels out currently, with a sixth due this summer. My goal is to serve my novels like potato chips: bet you can’t read just one.
Your books have been published with Amazon.com. Does this mean you see the publishing industry headed this way?
Amazon is the leading company in selling online books. Generally speaking, the eBook offers the book buyer lower prices and greater conveniences. To shop for a book at home, order and receive it in seconds and immediately start reading, to obtain a significant portion of a book as a free samples before buying, and carrying dozens, even hundreds of books in a package roughly the size of a Readers Digest, is hard to beat. I recall, as a young man going downtown to a record store to buy music. Later, I went downtown to rent a view-at-home movie. Digitalization has changed those forms of entertainment. We are now experiencing that same kind of metamorphosis with books. Digitalization has unleashed authors to bring their craft to readers without first subjecting it to the filtering and screening of the big box publishers who traditionally decided which stories were worthy of reaching people. This phenomenon gives the author more freedom and the book consumer more power. The traditional publishers simply no longer rule and command what writers can put out and what readers can read. This is good.
Do you have any online sites where others can read more of your writings?
My website is www.davidbishopbooks.com. There one can learn more about me and my novels. I often have a short story posted on my blog page within that website. The Signed Books subpage will help those who prefer to obtain signed print books for collection or possible investment. The David’s Novels subpage includes buy buttons for each of my novels connecting visitors to the major online book retailer they prefer. Thank you Wendy and Charles for giving me the opportunity to encourage your readers to take a closer look at my novels.
Do you have any more stories in the works? What kinds of stories do you plan to write next? Always mysteries/thrillers/suspense, well, in all likelihood, always. One can never say for certain. Currently, I have about 20-25 stories started. Some are only a few pages to capture the storyline. Others are 20-50 pages in length.
Who would be your first choice to play Linda Darby from your book “The Woman?”
Wow. What a fun question. Actually, I have thought about that. Despite the difficulty of remembering how to spell her name, Barbara Stanwyck would be the choice. Among the current leading ladies of film, there are several, but I think Hillary Swank captures the image of Linda Darby better than many others whose acting I also greatly admire. If I may expand on the question, I’d pick Mark Wahlberg to play Ryan Testler, the male lead in The Woman. And, if you’d like a male lead from Barbara Stanwyck’s era, I’d go with Robert Mitchum.
If you could meet anyone from any time who would it be and what would be your first question? This is another wonderful question. If you had asked me to pick five, I would have included Mark Twain from literature, Paul Reuter who started his famous news service by using homing pigeons to transport the news faster than any other method at that time, and from film Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. But you asked me to pick one; I pick Thomas Jefferson. My question would be, “Mr. Jefferson what do you think about how American governance has evolved and how does it mesh or clash with the visions of the founding fathers?